Generational justice

The Earth Is Full by Thomas L. Fried­man, New York Times, June 7, 2011 …we are cur­rently grow­ing at a rate that is using up the Earth’s resources far faster than they can be sus­tain­ably replen­ished, so we are eat­ing into the future. Right now, global growth is using about 1.5 Earths.…That is what hap­pens when one gen­er­a­tion in one coun­try lives at 150 per­cent of sus­tain­able capac­ity….…the consumer-driven growth model is bro­ken and we have to move to a more happiness-driven growth model, based on peo­ple work­ing less and own­ing less.

U.S. Ranks at the Bottom of Child Well-Being / By Katie McDonough, April 12, 2013 – The United States ranked in the bottom four of a United Nations report on child well-being. Among 29 countries, America landed second from the bottom in child poverty and held a similarly dismal position when it came to “child life satisfaction.” Keeping the U.S. company at the bottom of the report, which gauged material well-being, overall health, access to housing and education, were Lithuania, Latvia and Romania, three of the poorest countries in the survey….But don’t feel too discouraged, fellow Americans! As the International Business Times notes [3], the U.S. has managed to take first place in plenty of other surveys conducted by global organizations: The United States is No. 1 on many other lists: It spends more on the military than the next 12 nations on the list combined; it’s the best in the world at imprisoning people; and it has the most obese people, the highest divorce rate, and the highest rate of both illicit and prescription drug use.

Why our children’s future no longer looks so bright By Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, October 16, 2011— A specter haunts America: downward mobility. Every generation, we believe, should live better than its predecessor…But these expectations could be dashed. For young Americans, the future could be dimmer …Our children’s futures have been heavily mortgaged…The future is never entirely predictable, but downward mobility is not just a scary sound bite. It’s a real possibility.

9 Ways the Right’s Ayn Randian Experiment Screws Over the Young – Blog for Our Future, By RJ Eskow, June 17, 2013 Conservatives keep claiming liberals want a “cradle-to-grave nanny state.” That rhetoric has distracted us from the real social re-engineering taking place all around us. The right, along with its “centrist” collaborators, … Continue reading →

The Decade of Lost Children by Charles M. Blow, New York Times, August 5, 2011

The Rise and Fall of the American Childhood By Colin Greer,Alter­Net, July 19, 2012 -From the 1930s to 1980, child­hood in Amer­ica became a cher­ished space for young­sters to grow in. After 1980, and with increas­ing furor, that space has been under assault and child­hood ter­ri­bly com­pro­mised. Look at what we once did and what we’re now doing.The Rise: Child labor laws, Civil rights pro­tec­tions for all chil­dren., Full and secure employ­ment for par­ents. Play as a mode of learn­ing. Early child­hood as a time to invest in child devel­op­ment through stim­u­lat­ing play…Access to qual­ity edu­ca­tion on an unprece­dented scale…The US moved toward uni­ver­sal inclu­sion from ele­men­tary through post-secondary education.Yet once these gains were fully estab­lished in the top rungs of soci­ety, they began to shut down for the nation’s chil­dren as a whole. For 50 years, the pen­du­lum swung toward pro­tect­ing chil­dren and guar­an­tee­ing a child­hood for all; then it began to swing back when less than half of the pop­u­la­tion had securely achieved these ben­e­fits. So despite the lan­guage of “going too far” in the direc­tion of a pro­tec­tive, even a “nanny state,” we have never in fact gone far enough for the least priv­i­leged of us…Chil­dren in poor and immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties are actu­ally work­ing — on the land and in sweat­shops — despite our laws to the con­trary. Chil­dren in this pop­u­la­tion have less than a 10% chance of a col­lege edu­ca­tion. Hunger and home­less­ness among these chil­dren is at shock­ingly high lev­els….The need for both par­ents to work in the face of not only eco­nomic down­turns, but the demand for higher pro­duc­tiv­ity from Amer­i­can work­ers and lower pub­lic ben­e­fits, puts the lives of chil­dren under stresses that we once aimed to eradicate.In describ­ing both the rise and fall of Amer­i­can child­hood, I’ve quoted no data for two rea­sons. One, it is all out there. It’s in the press and in the pro­fes­sional lit­er­a­ture for all to find. Two, the gath­er­ing of data seems to make no dif­fer­ence to pub­lic behav­ior and pub­lic policy.Per­haps it’s time instead for each of us to imag­ine just one child, one who looks like a child you know and love. Each of these chil­dren is the bearer of the accu­mu­lated loss sum­ma­rized in the Rise and Fall.

Old vs. Young By David Leonhardt  …one dividing line has actually received too little attention. It’s the line between young and old……economic slump of the last decade…has still taken a much higher toll on the young…The wealth gap between households headed by someone over 65 and those headed by someone under 35 … gap in homeownership… income gap is also at a recorded high…the young are generally losing out to the old….more than 50 percent of federal benefits flow to the 13 percent of the population over 65…education spending — the area that the young say should be cut the least, polls show — is taking deep cuts… Hammered by the economic downturn…They wish the country would devote more attention to its future, especially on education and the climate. They, of course, will have to live with that future.

Our Three Bombs by Thomas Friedman, New York Times, October 7, 2009-…Today’s youth are growing up in the shadow of three bombs — any one of which could go off at any time and set in motion a truly nonlinear, radical change in the trajectory of their lives.
The first, of course, is still the nuclear threat…But there are now two other bombs our children have hanging over them: the debt bomb and the climate bomb…when one ecosystem collapses, it can trigger unpredictable changes in others that could alter our whole world.
The same is true with America’s debt bomb… it would surely diminish our government’s ability to make public investments and just as surely diminish our children’s standard of living…we’re in effect putting our kids’ future in the hands of the two most merciless forces on the planet: the Market and Mother Nature…we also need to act. If we don’t, we will be leaving our children to the tender mercies of the Market and Mother Nature alone to shape their futures

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